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Arabic names have historically been based on a long naming system. Most Arabs have not had given/middle/family names but rather a chain of names. This system remains in use throughout the Arab world.

Name structure

Ism

The ism (اسم), is the given name, first name, or personal name; e.g. "Ahmad" or "Fatimah". Most Arabic names have meaning as ordinary adjectives and nouns, and are often aspirational of character. For example, Muhammad means 'Praiseworthy' and Ali means 'Exalted' or 'High'.

The syntactic context will generally differentiate the name from the noun/adjective. However Arabic newspapers will occasionally place names in brackets, or quotation marks, to avoid confusion.

Indeed, such is the popularity of the name Muhammad throughout parts of Africa, Arabia, the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia, it is often represented by the abbreviation "Md.", "Mohd.", "Muhd.", or just "M.". In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, due to its almost ubiquitous use as a first name, a person will often be referred to by their second name:

  • Md. Dinar Ibn Raihan
  • Mohd. Umair Tanvir
  • Md. Osman

Nasab

The nasab (نسب) is a patronymic or series of patronymics. It indicates the person's heritage by the word ibn (ابن "son", colloquially bin) or ibnat ("daughter", also بنت bint, abbreviated bte.).

Ibn Khaldun (The ism (اسم), is the given name, first name, or personal name; e.g. "Ahmad" or "Fatimah". Most Arabic names have meaning as ordinary adjectives and nouns, and are often aspirational of character. For example, Muhammad means 'Praiseworthy' and Ali means 'Exalted' or 'High'.

The syntactic context will generally differentiate the name from the noun/adjective. However Arabic newspapers will occasionally place names in brackets, or quotation marks, to avoid confusion.

Indeed, such is the popularity of the name Muhammad throughout parts of Africa, Arabia, the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia, it is often represented by the abbreviation "Md.", "Mohd.", "Muhd.", or just "M.". In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, due to its almost ubiquitous use as a first name, a person will often be referred to by their second name:

  • Md. Dinar Ibn Raihan
  • Mohd. Umair Tanvir
  • Md. Osman

Nasab

The nasab (نسب) is a patronymic or series of patronymics. It indicates the person's heritage by the word ibn (ابن "son", colloquially bin) or ibnat ("daughter", also بنت bint, abbreviated bte.).

Ibn Khaldun (ابن خلدون) means "son of Khaldun". Khaldun is the father's personal name or, in this particular case, the name of a remote ancestor.

Several nasab names can follow in a chain to trace a person's ancestry backwards in time, as was important in the tribally based society of the ancient Arabs, both for purposes of identification and for socio-political interactions. Today, however, ibn or bint is no longer used (unless it is the official naming style in a country, region, etc.: Adnen bin Abdallah). The plural is 'Abnā for males and Banāt for females. However, Banu or Bani is tribal and encompasses both sexes.

Laqab

The laqab (لقب), pl. alqāb (القاب); agnomen; Africa, Arabia, the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia, it is often represented by the abbreviation "Md.", "Mohd.", "Muhd.", or just "M.". In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, due to its almost ubiquitous use as a first name, a person will often be referred to by their second name:

The nasab (نسب) is a patronymic or series of patronymics. It indicates the person's heritage by the word ibn (ابن "son", colloquially bin) or ibnat ("daughter", also بنت bint, abbreviated bte.).

Ibn Khaldun (ابن خلدون) means "son of Khaldun". Khaldun is the father's personal name or, in this particular case, the name of a remote ancestor.

Several nasab names can follow in a chain to trace a person's ancestry backwards in time, as was important in the tribally based society of the ancient Arabs, both for purposes of identification and for socio-political interactions. Today, however, ibn or bint is

Ibn Khaldun (ابن خلدون) means "son of Khaldun". Khaldun is the father's personal name or, in this particular case, the name of a remote ancestor.

Several nasab names can follow in a chain to trace a person's ancestry backwards in time, as was important in the tribally based society of the ancient Arabs, both for purposes of identification and for socio-political interactions. Today, however, ibn or bint is no longer used (unless it is the official naming style in a country, region, etc.: Adnen bin Abdallah). The plural is 'Abnā for males and Banāt for females. However, Banu or Bani is tribal and encompasses both sexes.

The laqab (لقب), pl. alqāb (القاب); agnomen; cognomen; nickname; title, honorific; last name, surname, family name.[1] The laqab is typically descriptive of the person.

An example is the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid (of One Thousand and One Nights fame). Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid (of One Thousand and One Nights fame). Harun is the Arabic version of the name Aaron and al-Rasheed means "the Rightly-Guided".

In ancient Arab societies, use of a laqab was common, but today is restricted to the surname, or family name, of birth.

The nisbah (نسبة) surname could be an everyday name, but is mostly the name of the ancestral tribe, city, country, or any other term used to show relevance. It follows a family through several generations. It most often appears as a demonym, for example البغدادي al-Baghdadi, meaning that the person is of Baghdad or descendant of people from Baghdad).

The laqab and nisbah are similar in use, thus, a name rarely contains both.

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